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Investment, Accounting, and the Salience of the Corporate Income Tax

  • Jesse Edgerton
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    This paper develops and tests the hypothesis that accounting rules mitigate the effect of tax policy on firm investment decisions by obscuring the timing of tax payments. I model a firm that maximizes a discounted weighted average of after-tax cash flows and accounting profits. I estimate the weight placed on accounting profits by comparing the effectiveness of tax incentives that do and do not affect them. Investment tax credits, which do affect accounting profits, have larger effects on investment than accelerated depreciation, which does not. This difference in estimated effects is not obviously driven by discounting, cash flow effects, or measurement error. Results thus suggest that accelerated depreciation provisions are less effective than they otherwise would be and that the corporate income tax could create smaller distortions to investment decisions than we would otherwise estimate.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18472.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2012
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    Publication status: published as Investment, Accounting, and the Salience of the Corporate Income Tax , Jesse Edgerton. in Business Taxation (Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar) , Devereux and Gordon. 2014
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18472
    Note: CF PE
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    1. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Dividend and Corporate Taxation in an Agency Model of the Firm," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 1-31, August.
    2. Desai, Mihir A. & Dyck, Alexander & Zingales, Luigi, 2007. "Theft and taxes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 591-623, June.
    3. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
    4. Timothy Erickson & Toni M. Whited, 2000. "Measurement Error and the Relationship between Investment and q," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 1027-1057, October.
    5. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & Stephen D. Oliner, 1999. "Investment behavior, observable expectations, and internal funds," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Christian Keuschnigg & Evelyn Ribi, 2010. "Profit Taxation and Finance Constraints," CESifo Working Paper Series 2914, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
    8. John R. Graham & Campbell R. Harvey & Shiva Rajgopal, 2004. "The Economic Implications of Corporate Financial Reporting," NBER Working Papers 10550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kaplan, Steven N & Zingales, Luigi, 1997. "Do Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Provide Useful Measures of Financing Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 169-215, February.
    10. Edgerton, Jesse, 2010. "Investment incentives and corporate tax asymmetries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 936-952, December.
    11. Jane G. Gravelle, 1994. "The Economic Effects of Taxing Capital Income," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262071584, June.
    12. Keating, A. Scott & L. Zimmerman, Jerold, 1999. "Depreciation-policy changes: tax, earnings management, and investment opportunity incentives," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 359-389, December.
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